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Minister Troy launches ICOS Guide to Starting a Co-operative

ICOS, the policy and representative body for co-operatives in Ireland, has urged entrepreneurs, innovators, people and communities throughout Ireland to consider setting up co-operatives as part of the renewal and recovery of businesses and the economy, in an initiative launched by Robert Troy, T.D., Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation.
Robert Troy, T.D., Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, pictured with ICOS President Jerry Long and ICOS Vice President and Chairman of the ICOS Rural Business Committee, James O’Donnell.

Minister Troy, ICOS President Jerry Long and ICOS Vice President and Chairman of the ICOS Rural Business Committee James O’Donnell launched a handy new Guide to Starting a Co-operative, developed by ICOS along with a description of some of the sectors in the economy that are ripe for the development of co-operatives. The guide is now online at www.icos.ie

The guide provides an easy-to-follow roadmap on how to approach setting up a co-operative business, including planning, commercial feasibility, membership enlistment and investment, and registering as a co-op, together with a commitment from ICOS to provide advice and guidance along the way.

Minister Robert Troy said: “I welcome this initiative by ICOS where their member organisations can already point to industries that originally started small but now currently provide a €14bn contribution to the Irish economy, most notably in the dairy and agrifood sector but also other sectors across 130 co-operative enterprises in Ireland. These in turn are owned and relied on by over 150,000 individual members, with employment provided for 12,000 people. Of course that kind of scale is not established overnight but what we are principally highlighting today are the many benefits and returns that can be achieved by groups of like-minded people coming together in a mutually established enterprise, for their collective benefit, as they set about providing a new offer to the market. My Department has been undertaking a complete overhaul of the existing legislation relating to this sector. This very substantial piece of work is well advanced and I intend to bring proposals to Government in the coming months which will provide for a modernised and effective legislative framework for co-operatives.”

James O’Donnell, Vice President of ICOS and Chairman of the ICOS Rural Business Committee said: “The establishment of co-operative businesses, where members work together to back and support a mutually owned enterprise, is a successful and proven approach particularly during times of market failure. Possibilities exist in digital services, e-commerce, renewable energy, tourism, housing, sports clubs, media ownership, restaurant services including delivery, social care provision including homecare and nursing home provision, and solutions for the increased number of remote workers who will require adequate facilities to work as effectively as if they were in the office.”

ICOS President, Jerry Long, stated: “The co-operative model presents the most practical means to achieve together what, in many cases, individuals might fail to achieve if they acted alone. ICOS is committed to following on this tradition of self-help and looking at providing solutions to issues being faced by people and businesses as a result of the Covid-19 Emergency. The practical and economic benefits of co-operative entrepreneurship and enterprise are widely to be seen and can be realised even further. We will work with Government, communities and all interested parties to promote co-operative enterprise as a means for the renewal and recovery of society and the economy.”